Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

daring greatly

So I’ve recently finished reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and it was very eye opening. I could relate to many of the topics discussed in the book, but they were feelings that I could finally put a name too and identify.

For anyone interested in reading this book, I highly recommend it. It’s not really for kids, due to some mature matters in my opinion. But anyone that is a young adult or older could greatly benefit from reading this book. It’s also one of those books that you can read at different stages of your life and take something different out of it every time. If you read this book, and you think the concept is stupid or doesn’t relate to you, you may need to read this book more than anyone else. Seriously, it can do no harm.

For instance, this book discusses shame, and how we need to practice shame resilient strategies in order to overcome it’s sometimes crippling effects. I struggle a lot with shame, and I’ve been able to identify many issues that I’m dealing with in a not so perfect way. Now, I hope to start correcting my habits that go against my values. Shame can affect you at home, at work, in public, with friends, etc. It’s easy to be sucked into a shame driven mindset, but there are ways to get out of it.

What I took away from this book is that I need to really assess the way I take day to day situations and how I react to them. Why do I feel discomfort towards certain situations and how can build the courage I need to stand up and say or do something? I also took away that I am enough, and that I am worthy of many things.

Another main aspect of the book was vulnerability. Daring to be vulnerable, by exposing your ideas or practicing what you value, can be challenging but in the end is always rewarding. You might not always get the results or the reactions you were hoping for, but you put yourself out there and that’s half the battle.

This book made me realize that I use to embrace vulnerability and I used to take chances on whims. I swear, I used to look for excuses to be vulnerable. I had such a fierce confidence that nothing could stop me. As I grow older, it seems that this open-armed embrace has significantly been reduced to a unwillingness to be vulnerable. Where did the daring Natalie go? The one that would get up on stage and play a few of her original songs in front of an entire audience? The one that would write a story and be willing to share it with friends in order to get some good feedback?

That’s not the way I want to live. I don’t want to shy away from exposing my ideas. I don’t want to snuff out the flame that used to burn brightly. Reading this book made me find those dying embers deep down inside and hopefully, with practice, I’ll be able to give it enough strength to ignite once again.

It doesn’t come naturally, daring greatly takes time and patience. I need to stop beating myself up, and I have to give myself permission to make mistakes. I am not able to accomplish anything if I don’t try. Making mistakes means you’re trying which is what I want to do. I’m the same person I was 10 years ago, sometimes I just need to remind myself of that, this book also helped.

I’m also really glad I read this book before I become a parent, because it gives really great perspective on parenting. What is the wrong or right way to parent? Many decisions I’ll have to make will contradict with what other people do, so I have to prepare myself for scrutinizing, but I need to stand my ground and practice what I believe in.

I can’t wait to read this book again in a few years.

I give it a solid 10 out of 10.

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The reading game

I’m excited to share that I’ve taken up reading again. I may have mentioned it in the past, but lately (aka last few years) it’s been hard to get back into the habit of reading.

Firstly, I was working at Chapters, which you may or may not know is a bookstore. How do you feel interested in wanting to read a book when you’re constantly being drilled information about books and what they’re about. I didn’t even bother reading the books I was recommending because I felt as if I already knew what they were about and how they ended. Obviously, I had no idea what these books were about but I kept buying them and recommending them.

Secondly, I started university. I’m in a modern languages program so you can guess correctly that I do a lot of scholarly reading for school. Who wants to pick up a book for leisure when you’re having to finish an old-ass book from the 17-18th century. They call it modern languages, but you only really read old books. I shouldn’t say that though. Some of the readings were more modern and I’m currently enrolled in a couple classes that seem like they’ll be more modern than what I’m used to. But the excuse still stands. Ain’t no way I’m reading during my free time when I can barely keep up with the readings for class.

Lastly, I had lost my passion for many things during a past relationship and it’s been both a struggle and a journey to rediscover these passions that I had convinced myself were worthless and pointless. I am proud of the progress I’ve made, and trust me there’s been plenty. However, I know that there is still a lot more healing and struggling to do. Reading is one of those.

Last year, right around the time we got our dog, Winston, I was re-reading a series from my childhood called Pendragon by D.J. Machale. It’s a 10 book series that is super amazing and I’ve read them over and over again, but it’s been about a decade now and I’m so glad I’m re-reading them. Last year though, my dog ate the third book, which evidently was the one that I was currently enjoying. This is how it went down.

Luc and I walked into our apartment to see what kind of damage our new doggo was causing this time. He had only been left alone for about an hour while we did groceries. I look around and immediately see paper everywhere. I peer down and realize that these papers are from a book, my favorite series’ book number 3. One deep breath and I put the dog on his leash and announced that I couldn’t clean this mess and took the dog for a walk. At this point, Luc has no idea which book got destroyed (it’s that unrecognizable). I let him clean the mess, because I’m sure that if I do, I’ll break down. Sure enough, when I come back inside Luc has that sad ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ face. He knew I loved those books and that I was reading that exact one. I still love my dog and I didn’t scold him, but boys oh boys was I mad. And as always, this was one of those situations where they don’t make that style of book cover anymore so if I replace it, it’ll stick out like a sore thumb on my bookshelf. So I put off buying another one and was turned off from reading for a bit.

The good news is that I found a copy of the exact book that was destroyed at a thrift shop! They only had the one book from the entire series so to quote the series: “It was the way it was meant to be.” I have finished that particular book a while back and have just started book 5 yesterday. I’ll make the review in two batches. One for books 1-5, and the other for books 5-10.

I’ve also taken the time to put a different kind of book by my bedside table. Currently it’s Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly. I’m almost done of it and it’s surprised me in more ways than I thought it would. For a book that I’ve been recommending for years, I had no idea what it was actually about and I’m so glad that I’m finally taking the time to read it. I’ll post a review on that one as soon as I finish it.

On a side note, this blog has been kind of like an outlet for me lately, I’ve poured my heart out into this thing, not really wanting anyone to read it, but more to be able to take it off my shoulders. I’ve been feeling better and stronger, but I’m kind of getting bored of my endless dissertations. Personally, I wouldn’t want to follow along with a blog that all they did was rant and talk about boring personal stuff in these long posts that seem to have no end. Thank you for letting me use this platform in my healing process. My goal is not to have someone read all of this, it’s more to let myself write freely without the fear of holding back. So expect this type of writing in the future as well as other types of posts as well.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

animal farm

I read this a while back. I can’t even remember. Before Christmas?

Because I went to a french school, I missed out on a lot of those classic junior high – high school english books. Animal farm was one of them.

This book was so small it took me one night to read it front to back and I was very surprised. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew it was popular so I went for it. Now I understand why everyone does this book in high school and such. It was great!

It would be so easy to find some great materials for a book report. This is definitely a read between the lines kind of book.

I’m not going to spoil too much of the story but basically it’s about the animals on a farm that are fed up with being just that. They want to own the farm, run it themselves. So they do just that. Things happen obviously… The animal’s true colours started to show and things don’t go as planned… Those damn pigs.

It was a great book!

I’d give it a solid 7 out of 10. Good book. Not my go to style but easy to read and understand. Litterally anyone can bond over this book.

After You By Jojo Moyes

After YouAfter You is the sequel to the book Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and for some reason, I was completely unaware that it was going to be released.  So, when I found out about it just a few weeks before its release date, I was excited!

Now before I tell you my own personal thoughts about this book, you should really go out there and read Me Before You, or any of her other books. She’s a fabulous author and you’re sure to fall in love with her. I do hope she continues the way she’s going, because I’m loving every minute of it.

Moving on,  I began reading After You not really sure about how the story would unravel because of the way the previous book had ended. What could possibly be added to Louisa’s story. Sure enough, Jojo Moyes threw in a major plot twist that continued to keep you hooked on the story. I can’t say what and I can’t say how, but something happened that changed Louisa’s world forever, again!  The story was fantastic, easy to understand, the content was well distributed so you were never sitting through boring chapters, wishing the darn thing would just end already. That’s partially why I love this author though, her writing is just so clear and to the point.  No need to bust your brain to try and understand what she is talking about. And most importantly, not boring! Because I have a hard time as it is finding an Adult Fiction book that I can fall in love with instantly.

So please, if you haven’t done so already, read Me Before You. Or any of Jojo Moyes’ book. I’m serious! You’ll love them!

Ouu I almost forgot to mention that Me Before You is going to be a movie soon, and I can tell you now, it’s going to be a tear jerker. And with the way After You was written, I can totally see it being turned into a movie as well.

I’ll be giving this book a 9 out of 10. Because it was fantastic but not nearly as jaw dropping as the first one. Now go out there and find yourself a copy. I wasn’t joking. Do it! Just do it!

The Radley’s by Matt Haig

theradleysI’d been eyeing this book on the shelf for a long time. Seeing as I loved the Humans by Matt Haig I really wanted to try something else to see what it was like. I ended up buying the book on a whim and it took me a long time to finish it due to a busy schedule, oh and Netflix.

The Radleys was good. It’s located in the horror section so I was expecting a little more you know, horror? And that really didn’t happen. Which I am totally fine with. But I liked this book and I wasn’t let down with Matt Haig’s work.

The story is about this modern family that goes about their daily lives in a small town and they try to fit in. As the book starts, you find out that Peter and Helen’s marriage isn’t doing so well. And that their kids are victims of extreme bullying at school. But the real culprit here was blood. They were all vampires and they were abstaining themselves of blood. The worst part? The kids didn’t even know they were vampires. It had been a secret to them until something happens… and I won’t go on and ruin the rest of the story for you guys.

If you’re looking for a real horror story don’t read this, because it wasn’t really that terrifying. Matt Haig is great though, I love the way he writes. His chapters usually aren’t that long and they are always to the point. There is never any baloney in there. You don’t waste your time reading useless information that has no relation to the actual story. His work is clear precise and clever. I love it. I just breeze right through his novels and love every minute of it.

I still think my favorite out of the two is The Humans, but that’s probably because it was so original and unique.

I will be giving this title a 8 out of 10. Still great but not perfect. Everyone seriously go read this guy.

Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

hectorI haven’t done one of these in a long time but trust me, I am still reading. I’m actually trying to read all the books that I own which may be possible if I stop buying books!

Hector and the Search for Happiness has been a book that I had been meaning to read for a long time. It’s a relatively short book that I ended up finishing in no time at all.

It’s about a psychiatrist named Hector, who is going on a worldwide trip to try and determine what the key to happiness is. Throughout his travels, he documents his thoughts and discoveries while meeting new people and discovering what makes them happy. He jots down all the lessons he’s learned.

To be straight honest with you, It was a fairly simple book. I mean sure, he meets interesting people and gets into interesting predicaments but all in all, the story itself was written in a very clear and simple way. But you see, that’s why I like these types of books. You learn a lot from between the lines. It makes you question your life and your surroundings. If you’ve ever read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, you’d understand what I mean by that. These kinds of stories needs to be simple in order to catch on to those hidden meanings. It also helps the messages sink in better when you don’t have to do all this concentrating on the actual story. In my opinion, this book isn’t even about Hector at all. It’s about happiness in general and Hector is just like your own personal guide to it.

I would definitely recommend this book to someone who needs a mood booster or who doesn’t want something too intense. It would also be a great recommendation for those philosophical junkies who just want to question life.

I’ll be giving this book a 8 out of 10.

The Heir by Kiera Cass

the heir

I’ll admit, when I heard this book was coming out, I squealed a little.

The Selection series was fantastic so I had high expectations with this book and definitely wasn’t disappointed with it.

The Heir is set 20 years after The One. America’s daughter will be queen one day and she has to go through a Selection to find herself a husband. Very similar to her mother, Princess Eadlyn isn’t impressed. She is very independent and thinks that no one will be suitable enough to stand next to her while the reigns.

This book was exactly what I wanted it to be. While Maxon went through the whole ‘Bachelor’ type scenario, Eadlyn had the complete opposite, just like the show ‘The Bachelorette’. It was great to meet a bunch of different guys this time. I was worried that the characters would have been a little too overly perfect. Like too handsome and too gentleman like. Thankfully, they weren’t. There were all sorts of different personalities and they weren’t all perfectly chiseled men. Which makes this book easier to relate to, because I always feel bad when young adult novels, especially the ones aimed for young girls, are filled with perfect men that are almost impossible to find in the real world. False expectations are the worst and can really mess with girl’s heads.

I won’t say too much about the story line, in fear of ruining everything, but 20 years have passed and if you remember the first three books, you’ll probably remember that Maxon and America had big plans for the country, so you can only imagine how many changes have been made…

First of all, can I just mention how gorgeous all the covers are? I mean look at that dress! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for covers and I harshly judge a book by its cover. Which is bad, and I should probably stop that. Haha.

Second of all, I love how Kiera Cass has grown as an author. Her skills have improved immensely compared to the first book in the series. It’s not often that I notice a huge difference in the writing style of an author but it was very apparent for Kiera Cass, in my opinion. It was a great improvement!

I will give this book a 10 out of 10 because I loved it. Just like all the others. It was great and you should read it!